Is “original sin” originally a christian theology?
I think the early Christians must have borrowed (and adapted or modified) the idea of “original sin” from Judaism. I have come to see the christian bible as a collection of myths borrowed from various ancient cultures, and somewhere along the way thousands of years ago, the Jews themselves probably borrowed the concept of sin from some of the ancient pagan traditions that revolved around sin, atonement and sacrifices.
Until the day Jesus arrived in the scene, the Jews were still hung up about sin and the sacrificial system. The Pharisees especially looked down on others as “sinners”. Although I have come to see Jesus as a mythological character, I do see his purpose in helping people to see themselves not as sinners but beloved children of God. He told them the kingdom of God (righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit) is within them. If they were sinners, then this statement makes no sense. The fact that the kingdom of God is in us means we are all beloved and innocent children of God. While Jesus have used the term “sinner” in his parables, I believe he was only using their lingo to speak their language, in order to make a connection with his predominantly Jewish audience. But I think, essentially, Jesus wanted everyone to know that we and the Father are one, just as he and the Father are one, and we are already blameless and without spot, wrinkle or any such thing.
1 John 1:9 was written to the Jews, not Us
Someone may say, “What about 1 John 1:9 that says ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness?'” Well, I understand the context of the verse 1 John 1:9 in terms of John writing to the Jewish audience, so he was only speaking their lingo, since they held on to this sin theology.
For us, there is nothing to confess, because in reality we are not “sinners”. I think this sin-consciousness comes from the religious mindset, that mistakenly thinks one has failed to obey a so-called god, and that subscribes to the illusion of separation.
Hence, I don’t agree with the popular notion that people are born “sinners” or use the explanation that the world is messed up because of some sin Adam committed. My take is that the world is messed up because people have forgotten who they really are – that we all are already perfect, complete, blameless, innocent and beloved.
I have come to see the bible as a Jewish old covenant book, and while I may learn some truths from it, but many of the things in the bible, such as the sin theology, do not apply to me because I don’t belong to the Jewish religious system, which has already been done away in AD70.
Someone may ask, “Then why did John write that ‘If you say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us?'”
My answer is: Precisely because John was writing to his Jewish brethren who were under their law system, they were counted as “sinful” simply because their own man-made laws condemned them. We learn that “By the law is the knowledge of sin”, so that is how the Jews became sin-conscious. This man-made law system was put to an end by AD70, marked by the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.
We are not under the Jewish law system. When there is no law, there is no transgression of law either. That means there is no such thing as sin.
No law = No knowledge of sin
No law = No imputation of sin
No law = No transgression of law
No law = No knowledge of sin
No law = No consciousness of sin
What is our conclusion then?
When we change our mind (repent) from the law mindset to the grace mindset, we realise that sin is only an illusion – the illusion of separation. Sin doesn’t exist in reality.
Jesus’ parable of the lost son exemplifies this truth. The younger son returned home, and before he could finish “confessing his sins”, his father embraced him and welcomed him home warmly and unconditionally.
What does this tell us? Is God waiting for his children to confess their sins? No. The father did not even bother to listen to the son’s rehearsed confession. As far as the father is concerned, the son is always perfect and innocent in his eyes.
Similarly, as far as God is concerned (whom I believe is our highest self), we are perfect and innocent. May we all continue to see ourselves the way our highest consciousness sees us – beloved, complete, innocent and blameless.
“A good Father doesn’t think of His children as evil, and His love won’t even keep a record of our wrongs. So, He sends us the Comforter to bring us a real sense of security–the very thing that our theology stole from us.”- Dr Michael Jones